Scottish Life and Society Volume 5

The Food of the Scots

By Alexander Fenton

Format: Hardback

Food, like procreation, is one of the major concerns of the human race. It affects every aspect of life, at all social levels. In Scotland, the farther back in time we go the more the daily diet is related to the local environment. This book explores the nature of food in Scotland, including game and wild plants, and cereals and dairy products.

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

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Food, like procreation, is one of the major concerns of the human race. It affects every aspect of life, at all social levels. In Scotland, as elsewhere, the farther back in time we go the more the daily diet is related to the local environment. This book explores the nature of food in the past, including game and wild plants, cereals and dairy products, flesh and drink, whether home-brewed ale or wines from abroad. Through extensive research and examination of long-held customs, the author provides a detailed appraisal of the realities and complexities of the Scottish diet. Food such as the everyday oatcakes and cheese, prepared in a special way for seasonal or work (especially harvest) occasions, and for the personal occasions of birth, baptism, marriage and death, is discussed in a major section of the book. The adoption of hot drinks - chocolate, coffee and tea - from the end of the seventeenth century marked an economic upswing, at first at high social levels. The resulting change in the composition and timing of meals was reinforced by the industrial age a century later.


Dependence on rural products was gradually reduced by imports and by preservation techniques, - canning, refrigerations, etc, - which have facilitated the consumption of foods from any part of the world, at any season. The apparent monotony of the past diet is now replaced by an embarrassment of choices, in which health considerations play a considerable role.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Hardback
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 22 Nov 2007
ISBN 9780859766968
Number of Pages 528

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